With a client list that includes the likes of Sean “Diddy” Combs, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey and Jay-Z, fashion stylist Ambrose knows a thing or two about achieving red-carpet glamour.
The self-described “style architect” has also appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” doling out expert advice and is the author of “Effortless Style” (Simon & Schuster). ESSENCE.com caught up with the veteran style guru to get the secrets to looking glam on a working woman’s salary.
Why not pop an unexpected jean or motorcycle jacket over your formal dress for this year’s holiday party? “What makes this really nice is that Alicia Keys paired an evening dress with a day jacket and mixed the fabrications,” Ambrose says.
According to Ambrose, it is the punch of fuschia (and Halle Berry’s knock-out figure) that makes this gown such a presence. “What makes this dress work is the color and the silhouette,” she says. “It’s flirty and makes a great holiday party dress.”
Powerful accessories like the pointy toe pump Selita Ebanks wears here are a way to stand out from the crowd. “Bold earrings are [another] way to make your holiday dress a little more edgy instead of safe and traditional,” she adds.
“Rihanna made this baby doll dress, which would normally appear young and playful, sophisticated and sexy. The black tights allow the dress to become a punctuation, making you appreciate the dress even more,” Ambrose points out. She adds that with such a statement-making dress, minimal accessories are best.
Even laid-back ensembles can have sex appeal by simply playing around with pieces you probably already own. "Some celebs [like Zoe Kravitz] take risks by mixing elements to create a chic look,” Ambrose says.
A coat can be a wise investment, so choose wisely like Jordin Sparks. “In the fall, it is worth it to splurge on outerwear. Your coat is what people are seeing the most.”
See more pics of voluptuous vixens like Jordin in our Curvaceous Cuties gallery »
Have fun with the details like Joy Bryant. “Accessories in patent leather or leopard are two of the easiest ways to remix your existing wardrobe. Whether it is a clutch, a pair of pumps or even a wide belt.”
Don’t feel pressured to blow the mortgage money on a status bag. “I think people can skimp on pocketbooks. There are so many great faux croc and alligator handbags on the market that no one should feel the need to spend $8,000 on a purse.”
Snag the quiet sex appeal of Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon by updating classic pieces you already own and dare to wear items together that you traditionally might not. “You can pull this look off with a ruffled top from Banana Republic or Club Monaco. The wide-leg trouser makes this a lot more playful than a [predictable] pencil skirt,” says Ambrose.
Don’t be afraid to have fun with your fashion choices, ladies. “Kelis is not afraid to mix colors and patterns. She also creates her own take on traditional pieces.” says Ambrose.
It’s cool to look to celebs like Beyoncé for inspiration, but attempting to recreate her look from head to toe is not a smart idea. “Celebrity trends are for influence, everyone has their own story. Reinterpret the things that define you and your fashion bible,” says Ambrose.